It is devastating to see a photograph of a magnificent white rhino, murdered by poachers who stole her horns.
However, this scene becomes even more upsetting when you consider the little newborn calf lying by her side; frightened, devastated and severely injured.
Rangers at South Africa’s Kruger National Park discovered Arthur the rhino calf with a dart in his back and injuries to his back and feet. He was lying beside the upturned body of his mother.
Poachers had shot Arthur’s mother and cut off her two horns. They proceeded to attack baby Arthur with machetes when he bravely tried to get in their way. As he was too young to have grown horns, he was spared the callous fate dealt to his mother.
Young Arthur was quickly taken to the Care for Wild Rhino orphanage, where he received treatment for his wounds over a number of weeks.
It was at this orphanage he was given the name ‘Arthur the Brave’, on account of his resilience and unwavering loyalty to his mother.
Thankfully, Arthur is recovering from his terrible ordeal, however the emotional scars of grief may take longer to heal.
Heartbreakingly, the traumatised calf still calls out for his dead mother. Orphanage volunteers have described this as ‘a heart wrenching sound and one that he should never have to make’.
Arthur has been adopted by South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton, Lancashire, who have promised to raise at least £1,600 a month to finance his rehabilitation.
Their conservation initiative – named Arthur’s Army – will be the zoo’s first since it was taken over by the new Cumbria Zoo Company back in May 2017.
Money raised will go towards rehabilitating and treating Arthur, as well as other orphans who are being looked after at Care for Wild’s rhino sanctuary, the largest rhino sanctuary and orphanage on earth.
This sanctuary operates as the treatment and rehabilitation centre for rhino babies who have been left orphaned in the Kruger National Park, the location of the planet’s largest remaining population of rhinos.
Cumbria Zoo Company’s chief executive Karen Brewer has described Arthur’s adoption as being ‘a very proud moment’:
This brave little rhino was given the regal name Arthur, meaning noble and courageous, and fitting for his fighting survivor’s spirit.
Arthur is on the road to recovery, he has made friends at the sanctuary with fellow Rhino orphan Summer, and is a firm favourite with his care-givers.
In the wild a rhino calf will stay with his mum for three years. Arthur’s mother was snatched from him at an early age, Arthur still calls out for his mum, he will be emotionally scarred for a long time.
Those visiting South Lakes Safari Zoo can learn more about Arthur’s story and will have the chance to make a donation towards his ongoing care.
Let’s just hope one day all little rhinos can grow up without seeing their parents brutally murdered in front of them due to the barbaric practice of poaching.
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